O's Mike Elias on weighing trade possibilities and MLB Network's Dan O'Dowd on the Orioles

NASHVILLE – Saying you “have to give something to get something,” Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias is in somewhat of an enviable position when it comes to making a trade. Whether it would happen here at the Winter Meetings or later.

He doesn’t feel pressure to make a trade. Just because he has probably the deepest farm system in baseball doesn’t mean he has to deal from it. During his press update with local media Monday, he talked about making good trades that are balanced and indicated just because you can outbid others for a deal doesn’t make it the right deal.

But he also knows when you cannot outspend clubs to sign free agents you may to have to outbid them with prospects in trades.

“We are as well-equipped as any team to rattle off prospect packages for any player,” said Elias. “That doesn’t mean that we want to do that just because we have the No. 1 farm system, and we could theoretically outbid any team. At some point it becomes a trade that you don’t want to do. It equips us to get involved in every conversation. But there is more to making trades than just being the high bidder. The trade has to make sense. A lot of our prospects are so close to the majors if they are not there yet. These are guys that are going to help the 2024 O’s too. We have to keep all that in mind.”

I asked Elias if the Orioles are prepared to lose some of their best prospects?

“We are definitely prepared to. We’ve had a lot of conversations dating back to the trade deadline where we’ve made some of our more famous prospects available. Just because we have this wonderful farm system and we theoretically would have the ability to match or top people’s trade offers, we have to worry about the balance of the trade itself.

“Lot of our players are prospects. These are guys that have tools and are performing. Performing in Triple-A and are consensus top 50 prospects in baseball. We have teams asking about them left and right. You don’t just throw those guys into trades and write it off. Those are players that are going to be helping soon and for a long time. We’ve got to balance that. It’s fun for us to be in a position where we can get into every trade conversation.

“But this perception that we have too many prospects and we need to get rid of some of them, that doesn’t register with me. We want to have a very talented organization. We need to make good trades, we don’t need to jettison players. But we’re very open to and very realistic about making our prospects available because there are impact players out there. You have to give something to get something.”

Dan O’Dowd’s take: Former MLB general manager Dan O’Dowd, an MLB Network analyst, is a fan of the amount of talent in the Orioles organization. He sees them in a great position – having a current roster that posted 101 wins while having a deep farm to make deals from. But he also believes they don’t have to add much of anything and may be another 100-win team right now.

But yes, it’s hard to keep all their young talent and trades may seem inevitable.

“Because at some point in time – windows (to win) open quickly, and they close quickly. And he (Elias) has got to take advantage of this incredible place where he has put the franchise. This is a really talented team, and their needs are so well defined now. They don’t have any positional player needs at all. Now, it’s a matter of helping the front of their rotation and the back-end of their bullpen.”

But does the talent logjam between Triple-A and the majors mean trades will be likely?

“No, they don’t have to. They don’t have much that they need. They have depth in their rotation, I’m not sure what they are going to do with DL Hall. They specifically need a guy that has a different repertoire than (Kyle) Bradish that pitches at the top of their rotation. You could argue they don’t even need a back-end guy, but you always need good arms at the back-end. Other than that, I don’t think they need a whole lot of anything.”

Pretty strong praise there by O’Dowd, who I asked how the O’s can make another run at 100 wins the postseason?

“I just think their competitive window is wide open and they need to take advantage of it. His group has done a great job. There are two great currencies in the game. A ton of payroll flexibility and an incredible amount of controllable and impactful young talent. I don’t know if they have any of the first, but they have a ton of the second. Now it’s a matter of taking advantage of the window that’s now open. And if they do and if they get support from ownership, I think this window is going to be open for a lot of years.

“The depth of their talent in this organization is better than any talent we’ve see in the game in a long time. It really is. When you start looking at Triple-A club, their Double-A club, Delmarva, when you start going down their system, they’ve got good players. The issue they are going to have – in the game of rankings now we’re in – some of their mid-tier guys could be other organizations’ top-tier guys. So, in trade talks they all want their top-tier guys, and the reality is their mid-to-bottom tier guys in their top 30 might be better than a lot of organization’s top 10. So that is going to be hard for them – they don’t want to trade I’m sure their impactful kids.”

Elias talked about being in a good spot with their organization talent base. It’s a great position to be in, almost one where Elias can perhaps not feel pressured to make many moves.

“I’m very happy with our regular season last year. I’m very happy with the state of the farm system. (But) We feel constant pressure in this business – especially in the division we’re in – to stay sharp and keep improving. I hope the players are doing the same this winter. Our coaches, everybody is working hard. There are 29 (other) teams and there only so many wins that go around every year. And you know, there are a lot of people chasing those wins right now. We are definitely not resting on our laurels. But we have a core of players and what looks like a really nice group of reinforcements coming and that’s a great place to start."

For more on Elias' press update yesterday, click here



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